John Lawrence Hill

Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Grimes Fellow

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Lawrence W. Inlow Hall, Room 301
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225

Phone: (317) 278-9036
Fax: (317) 278-7563

Web Page


B.A., 1982, M.A., 1985, Northern Illinois University
J.D., 1988, Ph.D., 1989, Georgetown University


Law School: Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, Jurisprudence and Ethical and Legal Issues at the End of Life


Professor Hill joined the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2003. He holds a J.D. and Ph.D. in philosophy, both from Georgetown University. He has taught many of the courses in the first-year curriculum – Civil Procedure I and II, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Torts and Legal Writing – and several courses in the upper division including First Amendment, Jurisprudence and Bioethics. He has published four books, the most recent of which After the Natural Law: How the Classical Worldview Supports Our Modern Moral and Political Ideals will be published by Ignatius Press in the spring of 2015.  The book traces the development of western philosophy from classical to modern times and argues that our most important moral and political principles -- freedom, responsibility, equality and human dignity – are incoherent without a foundation in natural law.

His book, The Political Centrist (Vanderbilt, 2009), argues that liberalism and conservatism are meaningless labels and defends a centrist approach to such issues as the scope of government power, affirmative action, the death penalty and the debate over illegal immigration. He is also completing a sixth book, Five Liberal Thinkers: On God, Philosophy and the Foundations of Freedom, which examines the life and political thought of five of liberalism’s most important thinkers: John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, John Dewey and John Rawls.

Professor Hill has also published several articles, which have appeared in such venues as the New York University Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, the Iowa Law Review and the Georgetown Law Journal. His "intentional" theory of parenting in surrogate mother contracts, defended in the New York University Law Review article, was cited and adopted by the Supreme Court of California in Johnson v Calvert.  He is a member of the Bar of Illinois and of California.

Professor Hill also teaches classes in the Philosophy Department, including Philosophical Issues in Criminal Law and Philosophical Foundations of Modern Liberalism and Conservatism.

In his spare time, he enjoys music and plays blues and jazz piano.


Books and Chapters

  • After the Natural Law: How the Classical Worldview Supports Our Modern Moral and Political Ideals (Ignatius Press, forthcoming, 2015)
  • The Political Centrist, Vanderbilt University Press, Fall, 2009.
  • The Case for Vegetarianism (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996).
  • The Enlightened Society (Theosophical Publishing House, 1987).

Law Review and Journal Articles

  • Theism, Naturalism and Liberalism: John Stuart Mill and the “Final Inexplicability” of the Self, 39 Pepperdine Law Review 1401 (2013)(invited piece for Symposium on Law and Religion.)
  • The Constitutional Status of Morals Legislation, 98 Kentucky Law Journal No. 1 (2009)
  • The Five Faces of Liberty in American Political and Constitutional Thought, 45 Boston College Law Review 499-594 (2004).
  • A Third Theory of Liberty: The Evolution of Our Conception of Freedom in American Constitutional Thought, 29 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 115-184 (2002).
  • A Theory of Merit, 1 Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy 15-75 (2002).
  • A Utilitarian Theory of Duress, 84 Iowa Law Review 275-338 (1999).
  • Moralized Theories of Coercion: A Critical Analysis, 74 Denver Law Review 907 (1997) (by invitation for a symposium on "Exploitation and Coercion")
  • Law and the Concept of the Core Self: Toward a Reconciliation of Naturalism and Humanism, 80 Marquette Law Review 289-390 (1997).
  • Mill, Freud, and Skinner: The Concept of the Self and the Moral Psychology of Liberty, 26 Seton Hall Law Review 92-182 (1995).
  • Exploitation, 79 Cornell Law Review 631-699 (1994).
  • What Does it Mean to be a Parent?: The Claims of Biology as the Basis for Parental Rights, 66 New York University Law Review 353-420 (1991) (quoted and analysis adopted by the Supreme Court of California in Johnson v. Calvert, 851 P. 2d 776, 781-82 (Cal. 1993)).
  • Note, Freedom, Determinism and the Externalization of Responsibility in the Law: A Philosophical Analysis, 76 Georgetown Law Journal 2045-2073 (1988).
  • Chapter: "The Zone of Privacy and the Right to Use Drugs," in Drug Legalization: For and Against (Evans and Berent eds. 1992.)"

Work in Progress

  • The Education of an Atheist: How a Philosopher Found God (or God Found Him) (Ignatius Press has asked to be the first to review for publication)
  • Five Liberal Thinkers: On God, Philosophy and the Foundations of Freedom (target completion date: Spring, 2015)
  • The Moral Function of Law (spring, 2015 law review distribution)